‘Transplant’ star Hamza Haq is excited to bring the Canadian show south of the border

By Taylor Neumann

The cast of ‘Transplant’

It’s possible you might have heard of NBC’s new drama Transplant before – it is a hit in its native Canada and is now making its way to the United States. The series follows Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed (Hamza Haq), a refugee from Syria looking to rebuild his life and continue practicing medicine.

“On a large scale, it’s about second chances in a lot of ways,” said star Haq about the show. “He’s trying to do his best in a new environment.” In this Tuesday’s episode, “Tell Me Who You Are,” Hamed joins the staff at York Memorial and finds himself in conflict between the way he does things – having learned in wartime – and the way the hospital does things.

“A lot of improvisation is required when you have very limited resources when you’re on the battlefield,” said Haq. “And as a result of that, he’s learned to trust his instinct and use anything at his disposal, which at times wasn’t a lot.”

Hamed makes the move from Syria to Canada with his little sister, Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus), and while the two have each other to lean on in this new country, there’s also some apprehension as Hamed and Amira were separated in Syria and raised separately to spare her some of the realities of war. “He’s starting this new experience with somebody that he doesn’t necessarily know very well, at the same time as her trying to find her footing in an environment where she doesn’t speak the language, [and] she doesn’t know anybody. . . . It’s quite interesting and there’s lots of room for heartwarming moments, as well as a lot of tension.”

Making the jump to American television is also a daunting, but exciting, prospect for the show, which has already been renewed for a second season in Canada. “Going a little bit south of the border, I’m very excited because I think it’s very international – it’s a global story, it’s a human story. And people are definitely going to be able to relate to that, regardless of what part of the world that they came from. I mean, there’s a huge number of people who weren’t born in the States and that came to chase the ‘American dream’ for this, that or the other reason. And a lot of people will be able to relate to that.”